Can pregnant women eat salmon?


Food choices are especially important during pregnancy. But between making your newborn checklist and adding snacks to baby registries when hunger strikes, you may wonder if that salmon filet you had for lunch is doctor-approved.

Though seafood is a great option outside of pregnancy (and some are approved during pregnancy), where does salmon fall on the pregnancy-approved food list?

Can pregnant women eat salmon?

The short answer is yes! It’ll take some due diligence, but you don’t have to give up your favorite fish for nine months. It’s good for you and comes with a multitude of benefits.

“Salmon is a great source of omega-three fatty acids that are so beneficial in pregnancy,” says Dr. Banafsheh Bayati, OB-GYN and medical cofounder of Perelel. “Salmon is also a low mercury fish. During pregnancy, it’s best to reduce exposure to mercury by avoiding fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel or other large predatory fish.”

How much salmon can a pregnant woman eat?

Dr. Banafshehe notes that most pregnant women don’t consume adequate amounts of fish during pregnancy. Some avoid it altogether for fear of getting sick. However, the recommended amount from the FDA is eight to 12 ounces of a variety of low in mercury fish per week.

But like some types of seafood, limit white albacore tuna steaks to less than six ounces weekly. That’s still just one or two seafood-inspired meals per week to feed your craving safely. Easy peasy.

How should salmon be cooked/prepared for a pregnant woman?

“To avoid harmful parasites, bacteria, or viruses, it is also best to avoid uncooked or smoked fish,” Banafsheh says. “In general, fish is cooked when it appears opaque throughout or separates into flakes.”

Undercooking comes with the risk of contracting a foodborne illness, like food poisoning. This is true for any seafood during pregnancy. And shellfish, like shrimp or crab, should also be cooked for pregnant women for the same reasons.

Is salmon healthy to eat while pregnant?

Thanks to its nutrient profile, salmon is an excellent source of protein and nutrients for both you and fetal development if consumed correctly and in the recommended amounts.

“The two most important omega-3 fatty acids are DHA and EPA,” Banafsheh says. “Our bodies can not make them; we must get them through food or supplementation. They’re mostly found in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and trout. Beyond seafood, other sources of omega-3 fatty acids include ground seeds, oils, nuts, eggs, and fortified dairy.”

“Aside from food, pregnant women can supplement with a good prenatal with appropriate amounts of DHA and EPA.”

What is the nutritional value of cooked salmon?

Aside from hitting the spot when you want a fancy salmon dinner date night, a single serving (three to four ounces) runs about 200 calories, and most of those calories are good for you. This fish is low in saturated fat and a fantastic protein source. Also, if you need extra potassium, iron, vitamins D and B12, salmon has your growing baby’s back (and yours too, momma).

What are the best salmon recipes for pregnancy?

Everyone has a different palette. While some love a buttery, flaky salmon made in a cast iron skillet, others prefer to air-fry in foil with a bit of lemon.

If you’re struggling for easy recipes, this Maple-Mustard Glazed Sheet Pan Salmon is an excellent place to start. Even something as simple as baked or broiled salmon is good, too—as long as it’s cooked thoroughly.

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